By Jess Clarke, Project Manager
Over the last month I have been supporting the group Rotherham Sangeet and Choir. This group has been formed since 2014 and Rotherham Federation has supported them throughout their community engagement projects. They are a singing choir working to address social isolation and mental health through music and signing workshops, going into schools, care homes and putting on community events across the Rotherham Borough.
Recently, I have been supporting the group to take more ownership of themselves, this has consisted of making them more sustainable into finding and writing funding bids independently. I have been meeting with 2 main group members to support them in this.
So far we have applied for music for all, and groundworks carriers for causes. I did this through sitting with the group members highlight the funding priorities, and listening to type their responses. The information came purely from the group themselves and I just inputted the data and added extra advice where necessary.
Whilst these applications are in process, we also looked at their lottery awards for all bid which they put in independently, and was rejected a few months ago. I have worked with Rupa to re-word their bid and highlighted the information they need to include to re-apply. They had also not done any community consultation (which is required for A4A applications), so we sat and I supported them to create their own questionnaire for them to use to gain information. This allowed me to highlight to Rupa how to meet funding bid aims rather than just writing information for the sake of it and hoping they will pick them to fund.
Hopefully a bid will be successful for the group in drawing down some funds, but through this process I have enabled the group to start taking ownership themselves. By learning how to meet funders aims and ensure they are going for the right funder they are becoming less reliant on workers filling out bids for them and taking steps to learn these skills themselves. The group is confident in finding new potential funders who meet their aims and from the 2nd meeting have been fetching funders they have found themselves to ask my advice.
The next steps is for the group to write a bid on their own without my presence and me check it over for them. They are no longer relying on staff to write the bid completely for them and I think this is the start of success story and sustainability for the group.